In late February, Ian Murphy of the Buffalo Beast punked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker when he called the governor’s office, pretending to be billionaire David Koch. Not only did he embarrass the union busting politician, but he revealed some dirty tricks the governor planned to use against the Wisconsin Democratic opposition to his anti-union bill and exposed the callous attitude people in power have towards their subjects. When a smart and resourceful citizen exposes a politician’s contempt for a large portion of his constituency, there aughta be a law. Thankfully, two Republican Wisconsin legislators, who deny any connection to the prank call on the governor, have written one.
The Badger Herald reports the bill would prohibit callers from “defrauding” someone on the other end by pretending to be someone else. In an email to legislators, Rep. Mark Honadel and Sen. Mary Lazich said “While use of spoofing is said to have some legitimate uses, it can also be used to frighten, harass and potentially defraud.” Violators would be fined up to $10,000 for each prank call. Not realizing the irony of his statement, Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause, a supposedly liberal leaning citizen’s advocacy group, said “Transparency and honesty are always better than secrecy and deception. If this bill will help protect consumers, it deserves a hearing and deserves to be passed.”
So in order to make more things transparent and honest, we should make it illegal to use a method to expose a politician who said he considered sending “troublemakers” to disrupt a peaceful protest? If such a ridiculous waste of time should actually pass through the Wisconsin legislature (and not be overturned for potentially violating the Supremacy Clause), could we then begin considering laws that might target people who misrepresent themselves as prostitutes in heavily edited videos in order to shut down non-profit organizations?
Thankfully for Bart Simpson, at least the city of Springfield isn’t in Wisconsin.